Parks serve an important purpose of bringing the people from all walks of life together and creating harmony among the community. The children rejoice going to the parks with friends or families, it allows them to run and play around without worrying about anything. Parks and recreational spaces help in revitalising the atmosphere of a particular area. But, the burgeoning economy and population growth has resulted in rapid urbanisation and changing metropolitan landscapes across the country. As a result of speedy development, mobility is being hindered in the urban cities throughout India. Public spaces are congested as the number of vehicles is increasing at an exponential rate in urban India. Parks and places for recreation are being encroached upon by the government to provide parking spaces for the ever so increasing number of vehicles. Urban landscapes are fast become a daunting sight with more number of parks and recreational spaces being converted into parking spaces.
A life without parks?
Parks and public green spaces are common essentials required to keep the community happy and healthy. They improve the aesthetic value of the area and are a major source of green cover in the urban pockets that keeps the temperature in the area under control. It has often been observed that parks and green spaces improve the water quality of the area, protect the groundwater by recharging the aquifers, prevent flooding from incessant rain, enhance the quality of the air to breathe, serve as a common space for children and families to connect with nature. People from a community can connect with each other regardless of the social or economic background. According to a study conducted by Penn State University, the amount of time spent in parks and green common spaces have a direct correlation with the well-being of an individual.
The speedy development has come with huge repercussions
The introduction of New Economic Policies ushered in by P. V. Narsimha Rao government in the early 1990s put India on the speedy track of development. The liberalisation, privatisation, and globalisation of the economy brought in fresh economic reforms and revived the ailing economy of the country. The urban agglomerations became the epicentre of a new growth story, large number of people from the towns and villages relocated in search of new economic opportunities and to have a better standard of living. With the improving standard of living, private vehicles became a prized possession, the roads and public spaces were engulfed with vehicles. Soon, the government was unable to cope up with growing number of private transportation and the lack of parking space forced them to convert parks and recreational areas into parking zones, snatching away common spaces from the public.
The impact of losing parks and governments role in protecting them
In the last few decades, climate change has become an evident phenomenon with urban centre facing the brunt of it, as the population density, lack of green cover, the concrete jungles, are affecting the weather in and around the urban centres. The rising number of vehicles not only encroach on public spaces but also add up to the carbon emission levels of the cities as well as contribute extensively towards the rising particulate matter level in the urban agglomerations. If the government is not able to put a cap on the number of private vehicles, there are high chances that the future generation in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and many such cities will never be able to enjoy the pleasure of visiting and playing inside the parks. The government needs to make the citizens aware of the cataclysmic consequences that the increasing number of private vehicles may have on the environment and their lives. There is a need to improve the public transport system so that more and more people take up the public transport and help in decongesting the urban spaces. So, in order to provide a decent life to the citizens with clean and healthy environment, the government needs to protect parks and public green spaces rather than converting them into parking spaces.
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